Forests in Pakistan... By Col.(r) Riaz
26 August, 2013
The forest area to land ration in Pakistan in 2010 was 2.19 percent as reported in World Bank report published in 2012, which is not only one of the lowest in the world, but unfortunately Pakistan has also the highest rate of deforestation in Asia. Just to draw the comparison, Russia has 46%, Brazil 56%, Indonesia 47%, Sweden 74%, Spain 56%, Japan 67%, Canada 31% and USA 30% area of their lands covered with forests. On the other hand Afghanistan 00.25%, Algeria 1.70%,Bahrain 0.67%, UAE3.5% and most Muslim countries have like Pakistan very little area under forests.
Ideally it should be at least 33 percent or more. Importance of the forests for a country in improving its ecology as well as its economy cannot be overemphasized and Pakistan must pay immediate heed to this natural resource for which Pakistan is blessed by the nature with all kinds of land, terrains and soils to grow trees of all kinds and in abundance too.
The govt. must plan planting of the trees on war footing basis and everyone in the nation must be made to plant a tree at least once every year, if not twice a year. Though some of the monsoon rains have gone bye yet there is time for few more rains and the tree plantation could be taken up on institutionalized basis where all organs and organizations of the country – the armed forces, the civil armed forces, the para military forces – Rangers, Coast Guards, FCs etc., the police, the railways, the WAPDA, all schools, colleges, universities – public or private, all government departments – provincial and federal, the political parties with their workers, the civil societies, the NGOS, the masses in general and the most important of all the Forest Department itself must plant the trees religiously. Needless to say the planted trees must also be looked after and watered when required till they are strong enough to survive on their own.
Hope some of our visionary leaders and rulers are listening.
Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)